Loop Trolley | St. Louis Public Radio

Loop Trolley

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 7 with a statement from Bi-State Development —

The struggling Loop Trolley has received enough funding to keep running until January. 

The money comes from the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, a political group that advocates for the trolley. It will keep the trolley operating with reduced hours. Without additional funding, the trolley could cease operations after Jan. 1. 

It was a standing-room-only affair on one of the trolleys last weekend.
File photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Only 11 months into its operating life, the Loop Trolley may not be long for this world. The Loop Trolley Company announced Oct. 12 that it needs an influx of $200,000 to continue running the trolley cars through the end of 2019 — and another $500,000 for next year.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin went behind the headlines with STLPR political correspondent Jason Rosenbaum for analysis of the latest developments surrounding the trolley.

Years in the making, the Loop Trolley took $51 million to build, with the majority of the funding coming from a Federal Transit Administration grant.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-south St. Louis County, voted against a few nominees to the Board of Freeholders that were proposed by County Executive Sam Page.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council signed off on eight of nine nominees to the regional Board of Freeholders on Tuesday night.

It is waiting to vote on the ninth nominee, independent Dee Joyner, until next week, said the council’s presiding officer, Ernie Trakas. The county council members haven’t had a chance to interview Joyner yet because she has been out of the country.
 

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll break down some of the week’s biggest stories in federal, state and local politics.

Of particular interest for many St. Louis area residents is the financial peril surrounding the Loop Trolley.

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The presiding officer of the St. Louis County Council won’t introduce legislation to provide more money for the Loop Trolley — a move that could make it difficult to get the measure past the finish line.

It’s a setback for a service that’s trying to piece together enough money to remain solvent through the rest of the year.

The Loop Trolley currently operates Thursdays through Sundays, beginning at noon.
File Photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The Loop Trolley could become insolvent unless it comes up with $200,000 in November, according to the company’s president. 

The Loop Trolley Co. requested $200,000 from the St. Louis County Transit Fund in September to keep the trolley running for the rest of the year, company President John S. Meyer Jr. said in an email Saturday. It also requested $500,000 to operate next year. 

If the company does not receive financial assistance, the trolley could stop operating as soon as Nov. 15, Meyer said. 

The inaugural Laugh Tracks event took place Sept. 13. The next is set for Oct. 11.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The Loop Trolley platform just outside the Pageant in the Delmar Loop was packed last Friday evening with people waiting to board. That hasn’t been a common sight in recent months following the launch of the controversial trolley, but on this particular night, something was different.

Local comedian Yale Hollander was rolling out the first iteration of Laugh Tracks, a unique comedic combination in which attendees need only pay the $2 trolley fare for about 45 minutes of family-friendly standup while riding the nostalgic vehicle.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” Washington University graduate student Zack Goldman said while in line for the event. “I’ve never even heard of comedians on a trolley before. I’ve also never been on the trolley ... so I’m open to new possibilities.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 9, 2009 - Supporters of a project to restore some of St. Louis' storied trolleys to the Delmar Loop area told the public Wednesday that the project had the power to boost the local economy and spur development.

Backers are proposing a fixed-track trolley system that would run down Delmar, starting at Trinity Avenue, and turn south on DeBaliviere Avenue to the Missouri History Museum. At a public forum Wednesday at the Regional Arts Commission, backers said the system would also boost tourism and provide a clean, sustainable form of transportation there. About 100 people attended the forum.

The Loop Trolley currently operates Thursdays through Sundays, beginning at noon.
File Photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air featured a discussion about the latest developments and challenges along the eight-block Delmar Loop entertainment, dining and shopping district located in University City and the city of St. Louis.

Joining the conversation with executive producer Alex Heuer was Rachelle L’Ecuyer, executive director of the Delmar Loop.

The segment also included pre-recorded comments from passersby, business owners, a Loop Trolley rider and St. Louis University's Bob Lewis, who is an assistant professor of urban planning and development.

Dedication Ceremony for Loop Trolley at Delmar Hall.  Nov. 15, 2018
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

The Delmar Loop Trolley was scheduled to welcome riders today for the first time. But the storm that dumped several inches of snow across the region Wednesday night put the breaks on the long awaited launch.

“We’ve waited this long,” said Loop Trolley Company executive director Kevin Barbeau, “What’s one more day?”

Barbeau said the trolley cars will be able to function in any kind weather. But the safety committee didn’t think it was prudent to begin service undersuch inclement conditions.

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Officials of the Loop Trolley Company say there will be a “soft opening” of the Delmar Loop Trolley soon with a big celebration and official launch to follow.

Sound familiar?

The 2.2 mile project has been delayed repeatedly by lack of equipment, lack of training and lack of money.

The Delmar Loop in 2017
Flickr/TedEngler

Rachelle L’Ecuyer grew up right near the Delmar Loop, so becoming its first-ever executive director earlier this month felt a lot like coming home. Still, she’s been looking at the area with fresh eyes.

“I was walking down Delmar yesterday, and I was taking a picture of the Tivoli sign, and two young men walked up to me and I said, ‘I love it!’” she said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And they looked at me and I said [again], ‘I love it.’ And I pointed from bottom to top, and they said, ‘Oh, I love it: The Tivoli spelled backwards is ‘I love it.’ And we ended up having a pretty long conversation about the Loop.”

The head of a developer with strong St. Louis ties is hoping his commitment to the Loop Trolley will help lift a cloud that has been hanging over the project.

ClayCo Chief Executive Officer Bob Clark says his company decided to make a $750,000 commitment after sensing the initiative was getting a "toxic" reputation.

"It's indicative of a place that is kind of stuck. All of this negativity all of a sudden becomes reality if somebody doesn't do something about it. So, I felt very strongly that it can be exciting," Clark said. "It can be a winning thing."

Two yellow signs indicate a streetcar crossing on Delmar Blvd.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in more than 50 years, trolley cars – a few of them, at least – will be rolling down the streets of St. Louis. Construction on the Loop Trolley’s 2.2-mile stretch between Forest Park and University City wrapped up in November and, according to trolley officials, test runs on Delmar Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue are set to begin in the next week or so.

Loop Trolley cars delayed but project still on track

Jan 31, 2017
Joe Edwards poses with a green and white trolley car purchased in Seattle for the Loop Trolley.
Synergy Group

The Loop Trolley project is still on track to begin giving rides this spring despite delays in getting some of the street cars to St. Louis.

Construction on the 2.2 mile route between Forest Park and the Delmar Loop wrapped up last fall, but two of the trolleys remain at a facility in Ida Grove, Iowa, for testing.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

All major construction on the Delmar Loop Trolley has been completed.

Trolley construction began March 2015. The final path of the trolley circles more than two miles from the western end of The Loop and through Forest Park near the Missouri History Museum.

trolley missouri history museum
Rachel Heidenry | 2009

Construction of the Loop Trolley is causing roads to close at the edge of St. Louis and University City.

The intersection of DeBaliviere and Forest Park Parkway is now closed. Traffic will be rerouted around Forest Park for the next three weeks.

Joe Edwards poses with a green and white trolley car purchased in Seattle for the Loop Trolley.
Synergy Group

Commuters who use Delmar Boulevard to get between University City and St. Louis will need to temporarily find an alternate route starting Monday.

The intersection of Delmar Boulevard and Kingsland Avenue on the western edge of Delmar Loop will be closed for the next three weeks while contractors put in a switch for the Loop Trolley.

Loop Trolley construction in Feb. 2016
LoopTrolley.com

Another busy intersection in the Delmar Loop will be shut down starting Monday for Loop Trolley construction. More than 85 percent of the track for the project has been installed, but traffic won’t be allowed at Skinker and Delmar boulevards for at least the next 12 days.

Work begins this week to lay Loop Trolley tracks

Jun 14, 2015
Artist rendering of the proposed Loop Trolley stop in front of the Delmar MetroLink Station.
courtesy Loop Trollety Transportation Development District / Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

Traffic on three blocks of Delmar Blvd. is being diverted to the road’s westbound lanes beginning Monday in order to start laying tracks for the Loop Trolley.

While construction is underway between Kingsland Ave. and Melville Ave. there will be no street parking on that stretch of Delmar.

The groundbreaking for the Loop Trolley took place Thursday.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

With bands, balloons, and the clang of a bell, the Loop Trolley project officially broke ground on Thursday.

(Missouri History Museum)

The Missouri History Museum’s long-vacant Delmar Boulevard property — whose purchase contributed to the departure of former Missouri History Museum head Robert Archibald — will finally be put to use.

The Museum’s board of trustees has granted a license to use the land at 5863 Delmar to St. Louis’ Loop Trolley Development District.

Loop trolley 2010
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Updated at 4:18 p.m. with plaintiffs' spokesman Tom Sullivan's comments.

The track has been cleared for the University City Loop Trolley after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday.

The suit had been filed in November by four plaintiffs, including former University City Council Member Elsie Glickert. (Here's our story about the lawsuit from back in November.)

Loop trolley 2010
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

The federal government has awarded a $25 million “urban circulator grant’’ for the planned trolley system that would run from University City’s Loop district through Forest Park.

The grant was among only five awarded nationally, and would cover more than half the cost of the estimated $43 million project.

“This really is an exciting honor for the entire St. Louis region, more than Forest Park and The Loop,” said Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill and the Moonrise Hotel, in a statement. Edwards had first proposed the project 17 years ago.

(Missouri History Museum, St. Louis)

Trolleys are making a comeback across the country from Seattle to Tampa with promises of economic development and walkable neighborhoods.

In St. Louis an effort to bring the fixed tracks back to University City’s Delmar Loop began in 1997.

After the $44 million project landed a big federal grant, it seemed St. Louis would be home to trolleys again.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports the proposed Loop Trolley has hit some bumps.

(Missouri History Museum)

A federal lawsuit filed last week could create serious delays for the U-City Loop Trolley project.

It alleges that the vote taken to create the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District violated both state and federal laws.

Four individuals, including former University City Councilwoman Elsie Beck Glickert, filed the suit claiming it was unconstitutional to allow non-resident property owners to vote and weighting that vote based on the number of acres they owned.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The long-delayed Loop Trolley Project faced some high-profile challenges this year, most notably a stern warning from the Federal Transit Association that it could lose a crucial federal grant.

But University City businessman Joe Edwards -- one of the trolley's key backers – said he’s increasingly confident that the project will begin construction next year. That’s because handlers of the project met a Federal Transit Agency deadline to turn in required planning documentation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 4, 2013 - The long-delayed Loop Trolley Project faced some high-profile challenges this year, most notably a stern warning from the Federal Transit Association that it could lose a crucial federal grant.

But University City businessman Joe Edwards -- one of the trolley's key backers – said he’s increasingly confident that the project will begin construction next year. That’s because handlers of the project met a Federal Transit Agency deadline to turn in required planning documentation.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2013: Construction of the Loop trolley could begin this fall and be completed next year -- despite the withdrawal of the Missouri History Museum’s $1 million pledge to help fund the line between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park.

Businessman Joe Edwards, the force behind the development of the Delmar Loop and leader of the effort to build the trolley line, said the loss was only a slight bump in the road.

(Missouri History Museum)

St. Louis has a long had a special relationship with the trolley.  It’s a relationship immortalized by actor and singer Judy Garland in the film Meet Me In St. Louis

Currently, there are independent efforts in St. Louis to revive the presence of a trolley, or as some proponents say, streetcar. 

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